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Archive for September, 2008

My husband’s Squadron Commanding Officer (SCO) often talks about lessons learned in his monthly lengthy volunteer meetings.  I had recently been contemplating a blog entry along those lines when I read Stars and Stripes’ blog, Spouse Calls.  The latest post (as of Monday afternoon) is about an interactive blog where readers can post their own lessons learned during deployments.  So, in company with Hope Metzler’s blog about deployment lessons learned, I felt that maybe I could start a lessons learned post with my readers.  I will go first and post a few lessons, and I encourage each of you can do the same!

I have learned…

I have learned that sometimes Mommy needs the timeout.

I have learned that dishes multiply when no one is home.

I have learned that I really leave the kitchen cabinet doors open, not my husband.  Unless it is a ghost, that is another avenue to explore before resigning the blame with myself.

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ready or not

ready or not

What do you think?

What do you think?

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I realize that just because your Soldier leaves, that does not automatically give you oodles of free time.  In fact, it usually diminishes your usual amount of free time.  Personally, in addition to the lowered levels of “me, me, me”, I experience an extra helping of guilt.  I am supportive of my Soldier and the work he does, but I am not out there doing good deeds myself.  In an effort to battle this feeling I usually begin volunteering.  Please do not misunderstand me, I am not the first one to sign up for a bake sale or chili feed.  FRG fundraisers are often a trying event that I find hard to stomach.  I enjoy volunteering directly for single Soldiers and their families (I am a point of contact for 70+ families in the squadron).  However, I feel that sometimes that is not enough.  Could I make a difference in this community, and promote a healthy image of the spouse of a deployed Soldier?  The Fairbanks community is the best military community I have lived in.  In general, the only anti-(war, Army, Bush, etc) people I have found usually hang out on the corner of University and Geist Road (protester-central).  This year I wanted to give back to the community that has given to us for the past five years.  I want to get my children involved, and I want to set a good example as a mother, and as a spouse who feels that she is part of this town.   After several brainstorming sessions, I found a few good ideas.

First up on my list of good things to do, cut my hair! This may not directly affect the community, but by donating my hair (and enlisting the donations of four others) to Locks of Love, I can give something back.  Literally.  Tomorrow morning my girlfriend, JB, will join me in getting our locks lopped off.  In an effort to thank her, I invited her over for a photo session last night to capture her beautiful mane.  I am pleased with the results, but then again I am a biased photographer.  I will also be posting an “after” shot.

Before

Before

Next month I will be volunteering with the Fraternal Order of Alaska State Troopers (FOAST) here in Fairbanks at their annual charity concert featuring Gary Puckett and Juice Newton! What a great way to support the community and our local heroes who keep our streets safe!

Do you want to volunteer? Look for branches of these organizations in your community.  If you are not sure where to start here in Fairbanks, contact these great people:

LOCAL

Fairbanks North Star Borough  – fill out this application and apply to the department of your choice.  A list is provided on the application.

Contact any school within the district directly for volunteer opportunities.

Fairbanks Animal Shelter @ 907-459-1451.  Requirements?  Must be 16 years of age, and take their Volunteer Orientation course.  The next course date is October 22, 2008 from 6pm-9pm.

Fort Wainwright Stray Facility @ 907-361-3013

Women in Crisis-Counseling & Assistance @ 907-452-6770

Fairbanks Rescue Mission @ 907-452-5343

Tanana Chiefs Conference @ 907-452-82541

NATIONAL

Families United – United for a Strong America

Volunteers of America

USA Freedom Corps

The Nature Conservancy

Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc

American Red Cross

There are many opportunities out there to give.  If you want to do something for someone else during this deployment take the steps now to show you care.

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You have heard of Murphy’s Law, right?  For those who are clueless, Murphy’s law is the old saying that basically, “if something can go wrong, it will.”  Once applied to deployments, it follows that “as soon as your Soldier leaves, defecation will almost certinly strike the rotation oscillation device.”

Case in point, this year alone each time my husband has left for training, visited family back home, or went to the field one of the following (no lie) happened:

  • Breaks went out on the car, while I was driving it!
  • Furnace spewed oil all over the garage, and puffed black smoke throughout the house.  In addition to causing us to replace the furnace chimney ($3000), it also lead us (read: ME) to repaint entire house.  Yes, I am still working on this.  And I had some level of nonlethal CO2 poisoning.
  • Car broke down 5 hours away from home, in practically the middle of nowhere.
  • $3000 was stolen from my petty cash safe at work.
  • Someone got sick —  me, the kids, the dogs — someone inevitably got sick!

I get inexplicably sick each time Rick deploys.  This morning my boss weighed in with her analysis that it is due to stress.  I am the first to admit that I do not “stress” easily.  I do not feel stressed about things that most other military spouses stress over.  Maybe I am just incapable of recognizing stress, but the fact remains that I just do not feel anything going on while the guys gear up to go.  However, the day he leaves and all settles down I begin to get sick.  Usually it is some sort of infection (kidney, bladder, or other), sometimes it is a persistent migrane for a week or so.  This time it was vertigo.  It began on Tuesday evening around 9pm.  I have only experienced this feeling (long term) one other time, and that was in August.  I recieved medication for nausea, and nothing more.  This time I did not feel ill, just simply could not walk.  I fell over the coffee table, ran into walls, fell off the toilet, as well as a dozen other things that my friends could laugh at.  I made my son walk to school, and my daughter offered to stay home and take care of me.  (HA!  She watched cartoons all day!)  I tried to shower, assuming that might help me to feel better.  Ever try to stand in a shower with your eyes closed, while you are dizzy?  I sat in the shower, not so much fun.  The closest sponge to use was my son’s (gross on so many levels).  As I am sitting, I see my body wash up on the rack about 4 feet above my head, and completely out of my sitting down reach.  I grab the next closest soap, unaware that this was to be my undoing.  It was my husband’s soap, and it is now retired to beneath the bathroom sink.  Once I worked a lather up I began to smell my husband, and the smell alone made me cry.  So now, not only can I not stand and see properly, but I am crying my eyes out trying to take a shower.  I rinse off, give up, and go back to bed. Before leaving the bathroom the globe (for the light) falls down from the ceiling.  No one has touched it since November 2006 when I revamped the bathroom.  The bulb has lasted that long.  Why now?  Murphy’s Law.

I am fiercly independent.  I abohr the idea that my body (and life) shuts down the moment my DH leaves the country.  Murphy’s Law of Deployments is not something you can prepare for.  Apparently, you have little say over how your body manages stress.  It is yet one more thing that we must take in stride.  Finally, I leave you with others’ tales of perilClick away!

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Insanity, You Tease Me

Insanity, you tease me

with your smudged lines of entry.

Easy to cross, hard to find,

wondering which path I left behind.

———————————–

Insanity, you come to me,

offering a dark tunnel in comfort’s clothing.

I cast you away, you are not welcome to stay.

I can handle this life, I can take this strife.

———————————–

Sanity, stay with me,

blanket me on a cold lover’s night

Wrap me tight in the dreams of tomorrow.

Sanity, don’t leave me.

——————————————

Sanity, remind me,

it can always get worse,

that I am not the first.

Sanity, stay with me.

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I am a fan of the reporting and essays often found in The New Yorker.  This morning I received notification on google reader that something new was ready for me to read.  Simply titled Service, I felt the urge to click and see what this story was all about.  It is a wonderfully arranged slideshow of pictures of service members taken by photographer Platon.  Imagine my surprise when I found a picture of one of our own Soldiers here in the 1-25 SBCT!  Be sure to check out slides 7 and 8, as well, for more 1-25 SBCT Soldiers.

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The Run Around

I know families (Soldiers and/or their wives) who opted not to participate in this year’s Equinox Marathon since a large body of Soldiers were set to deploy at the same time as the event.  Two Soldiers saw past the obstacle and found a way to enjoy the race.  Let this be an example for the rest of us!  Let us not restrict ourselves from something because of the large elephant in the room.  Instead, lay some newspaper down, and walk out the door.  (Hey, you cannot exactly kennel an elephant!)

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